Enrile happy with Senate vote, twits Miriam

Posted at 01/22/13 4:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - When he offered to give up his position on Monday, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he was seeking his colleagues' "vote of confidence." And the result elated him.

Eleven senators struck down his motion to declare the Senate presidency vacant, while only three, including himself, voted for it.

"I'm glad they expressed their position, and I'm thankful to them," Enrile said on Tuesday.

Enrile explained that he did not make an irrevocable resignation because he did not commit anything wrong.

He said the latest controversy involving him-his distribution of the Senate's savings to fellow senators allegedly as gifts-pushed him to offer to resign.

"I decided to ask for the confidence of my peers whether they wanted me to stay or not," he said.

After Monday's vote, Enrile said he will reiterate his motion to declare his position vacant once all senators are present. But on Tuesday, he said he will only do it "if necessary."

Enrile also said he doesn't mind if his critics continue plotting to oust him.

"I'm waiting for the time that they can muster the number of votes necessary to make me retire."

File case before SC

Meanwhile, Enrile dared Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to sue him over the issue of his distribution of Senate savings.

Santiago, who's on sick leave due to hypertension and bone marrow disorder, released a statement on Tuesday deploring Enrile's use of the Senate's savings as "tantamount to grave abuse of discretion."

Santiago also wrote a letter to Commission on Audit chair Gracia Pulido-Tan pointing out that savings should be returned to the national treasury. Tan had said Enrile's realignment of the Senate's savings was legal.

"If there is grave abuse of discretion, then she can file a case before the Supreme Court," Enrile said. "That is the best thing to do."